Legislative News

June 24, 2022

Read the most recent Legislative Brief here.

ONE WEEK NOTICE: The June 30 Renewal Deadline for Even-Year CPA Licensees is Next Week! 
Renew your CPA License today! To check your CPE credits, use our CPE Tracker, a benefit of your membership and free to all MassCPAs members. For instructions on how to export the CPE tracking sheet to your license renewal form, click here.
Renewal links and information:

  • Access your ePLACE Portal account and renew your license here
  • Request an authorization code to access your account here
  • Step-by-step guide for creating an ePLACE Portal account, renewing your license, authorization codes and more here

CPA Firm Renewal Affidavit Forms are due by August 1. To access the 2022 Firm Affidavit Form, click here.   

Please note: You may experience technical issues when accessing the page via Internet Explorer or a search on a mobile device. If this occurs, please use a different internet browser to renew your license.  

The Board of Public Accountancy is aware that renewals prior to April 12, 2022, were renewed for only one year and expire on June 30, 2023, rather than 2024. If your renewal was impacted, your license will be reissued in the coming weeks with the correct expiration date. If your renewal was impacted but you do not receive a new license by July 30, please email the Board for an update. 

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Approves Fair Share Amendment Summary Language 
In a unanimous decision yesterday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that the summary of the Fair Share Amendment as prepared by the Attorney General’s Office “fairly” describes the amendment and may appear on November’s ballot as currently written. 

The ruling comes after a challenge from business groups claimed the language of the amendment is misleading and would confuse voters as to how and where the money generated from the surtax would be allocated.

The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout has more on the ruling here.

Massachusetts Estate Tax Reform in the Spotlight 
In the last few weeks, legislative leaders have publicly signaled a willingness to address the estate tax with President Spilka saying as recently as Tuesday that the Legislature is in discussions to do so. 

While the Legislature has yet to propose a policy, the MassCPAs Government Affairs team and members continue to engage with legislators and their staff to advocate for estate tax reform and to offer our resources as they flush out various tax policy proposals. 

Katie Lannan of the State House News Service has more on President Spilka’s recent comments here.

Federal and State Tax News

Guidance for Federal Relief Programs

U.S. Department of Labor Announce Online Portal for Paid Leave Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an online portal through which workers can determine their eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).To view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs, click here.

Massachusetts Resources

Department of Public Health (DPH): Click here to read updates from the DPH regarding COVID-19. 

Division of Local Services (DLS): For those who work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the DLS has a dedicated webpage that provides finance guidance to city and town officials related to the state of emergency. For more information, click here.For urgently needed guidance, please email the DLS.

Older Coverage

Massachusetts Legislature Considers $11 Billion in Economic Development and Infrastructure Spending 
This week, the Economic Development Committee reported favorably to the Committee on Bonding, Capital, Expenditures and State Assets a $1.2 billion borrowing bill dedicated to incentivizing workforce development and spurring downtown revitalization across Massachusetts municipalities. The bill, which removed language allocating $2.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to municipalities across the Commonwealth, is a pared-down version of the roughly $3.5 billion bill filed by Governor Baker earlier this year. 

Yesterday, Speaker Ron Mariano suggested that, while ARPA funding was stripped from the economic development bill, talks between both branches of the Legislature about how to allocate the funds are underway. The Legislature has until December 31, 2024, to allocate the ARPA funds and December 21, 2026, to spend the funds. 

Separately, the Bonding Committee reported to House Committee on Ways and Means legislation that allocates the $9.75 billion in funding received via the federal Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs Act of 2021 to various transportation and infrastructure projects across Massachusetts. 

Chris Lisinski of the State House News Service has more here.

Both bills have a few legislative steps to overcome before passing into law. We will keep you posted on any developments going forward. 

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects Gig-Worker Ballot Question
Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) rejected the proposed ballot question that would have reclassified Massachusetts gig economy workers. The ballot question, backed by tech industry companies including Uber and Lyft and strongly opposed by labor unions and worker advocates, was sure to be among the most expensive ballot question campaigns this election cycle, alongside the Fair Share Amendment, which would impose a 4% surtax on income over $1 million. 

The Boston Globe's Matt Stout has more on the SJC’s decision here

Massachusetts May 2022 Revenue Collections Total $2.478 Billion
The Department of Revenue (DOR) announced May 2022 revenue collections totaled $2.478 billion, which is $1.524 billion (38.1%) less than May 2021, but $138 million (5.9%) above monthly benchmarks.    

FY22 year-to-date collections total $36.969 billion, which is $6.519 billion (21.4%) more than the same period of FY21, and $2.666 billion (7.8%) more than the year-to-date benchmark. The DOR further stated after adjusting for pass-through entity (PTE) excise, FY22 year-to-date collections are $4.726 billion (15.5%) more than collections in the same period of FY21 and $1.965 billion (5.9%) more than the year-to-date benchmark.   

To learn more, click here.

Massachusetts Senate President: Tax Relief Package Expected in July
Last week, Senate President Karen Spilka told reporters at the State House that she expected a vote on a tax relief package by the end of July. The MassCPAs Government Affairs team and members have met with several legislators and their staff over the last few months advocating for estate tax reform and continue to act as a resource for the Legislature as they flush out various tax policy proposals.

As of late, the Massachusetts estate tax has been a frequent topic of conversation on Beacon Hill among members of the Legislature across the political spectrum, and though nothing official has been proposed yet, there appears to be some appetite to address it. Just this week, Evan Horowitz, executive director of the Center for State Policy Analysis (cSPA), released “Maximizing the Impact of Tax Cuts,” a report touching on various tax relief proposals, including an update to the estate tax. You can view the report here.  

We look forward to continued discussions with the Legislature and their staff to provide resources and information on such tax relief, particularly with regard to reforming the state’s estate tax. We will keep you posted on all developments as they arise.  

Massachusetts Senate Passes $49.78 Billion FY23 Budget
In May, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $49.78 billion FY23 budget. By the end of budget debate, Senators added $93 million to the budget’s bottom line and adopted over 500 of the 1,178 amendments that were filed. 

The Senate budget included the update to the state's individual income tax conformity date from the 2005 version of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to the IRC in effect as of January 1, 2022, and decouples the Massachusetts individual income tax rules from the federal qualified business income deduction. The same updates were included in both the Governor’s and House budgets.

A conference committee of select legislators from each branch will convene in the coming weeks to work out differences between the budgets passed by the House and Senate respectively. We look forward to continuing discussions with the Legislature and their staff throughout the budget deliberations and will keep you posted on all developments as they arise. 

MassCPAs Interview with Massachusetts State Auditor Candidates 
MassCPAs Government Affairs team, in collaboration with members of MassCPAs Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee, interviewed the candidates running for Massachusetts State Auditor, former Assistant Secretary of Transportation Chris Dempsey and State Senator Diana DiZoglio.

To read the interview in the May digital issue of SumNews, click here.

Please note: The Anthony Amore campaign did not respond to our requests for comment.

Massachusetts House Cannabis Bill Decouples the State from Section 280E of the IRC
In May, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed cannabis reform legislation that would, in part, decouple Massachusetts from Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and allow for cannabis businesses to take the same business deductions as all other businesses. We were pleased to testify in support of the amendment to decouple from 280E, which you can read here

Thank you to House Revenue Chair Representative Mark Cusack for sponsoring and to Representative David Rogers for co-sponsoring the amendment. We are grateful to the House for adopting the amendment to the legislation. If you missed it, Dan Adams at The Boston Globe has more on the details of the cannabis bill here.  

Special thanks to Charlotte Cathro, CPA, of Cathro LLC and chair of MassCPAs Cannabis Committee, and to our Cannabis Committee for their work and advocacy. We look forward to working with the Legislature to advocate for this amendment to remain in the final bill and passed into law. 

To join our Cannabis Committee, click here.

Influx of Federal Aid to Trigger Spike in Single Audits
As of June 2021, over $5 trillion in federal COVID-19 relief funding has been allocated across the country, of which Massachusetts has received roughly $73 billion, including $13 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) estimates that such an influx of federal aid will lead to 30,000 new single audits. For tips on working with first-time single audit clients, click here. Renee Davis, CPA, a partner at Powers & Sullivan, LLC, and co-chair of MassCPAs' Governmental Accounting & Auditing Committee, had some advice for how to handle these audits, which was featured in our July issue of SumNews.  

Major Update to Workforce Training Fund
Your upcoming CPE with us could be free, thanks to a recent change to the State Workforce Training and Express Fund! All MassCPAs conferences, customized team trainings and seminars qualify for this program, so work with us to save on your CPE. You must be registered and apply for reimbursement three weeks in advance of the course to qualify – act now! To learn more, click here or contact Julia Ekelund. 

Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Fraud Resources
Unemployment Insurance Fraud is on the rise again.If you believe you may have had a false unemployment claim filed using your identity, contact the DUA here or at 877.626.6800. Please stay vigilant.For more information and resources, click here.

Professional Resources

MassCPAs Legislative Brief
This newsletter offers information and resources available through the federal and state governments regarding business loan programs, updates from the Departments of Labor and Health, and news as it relates to the impacts of COVID-19 on the accounting profession, the economy and the Society. Check out past issues here.